TestimonialsHear the Voice of Our Community.
Charis has become a spiritual home where all are truly welcome. I am welcome to come as I am- the good, bad, and ugly. Charis strives to transform, not to conform, and I do feel transformed with the message of absolute, and total Love.
I was drawn to Charis because of its welcoming inclusion of everyone. Especially important to me is ALL are invited to share Eucharist – without exception. Women have equal opportunity to serve as well.
All marriages and relationships are honored with conscience being the individual’s guide.
What initially drew me to Charis was Trish’s dynamic energy, contagious positivity, and insightful homilies. What keeps me invested in Charis is the community of love that’s been fostered online over the (covid) years. Members really care about each other, and the diversity of voices giving homilies now only enriches and deepens our relationship with Scripture. There are not many communities quite like Charis. It’s a special place.
Charis came into my life at a time when I was most open to hearing God’s message in a new way. I look forward each week to hearing the scriptures broken open by our female pastor Trish Vanni. She offers a fresh perspective to me after living six decades — and always hearing old white men (bless them for their contribution) do the preaching. We also practice a dialog homily wherein everyone has an opportunity to offer up ideas about what the homily stirred up in you. It is another example of how our community listens to everyone and honors their unique contribution.
I started a search for a new church community when I realized that I had to leave the Roman Catholic Church because of its refusal to recognize women as capable and equal liturgical leaders. I was also looking for a church where all people could receive communion and where one didn’t have to whisper when talking about LGBTQIA+ issues. I found all of that and more at Charis. I stay at Charis because the community is incredibly welcoming and warm – and I appreciate the values that priests like Trish and Brian (and guest pastors) preach about in their sermons.
I personally had been struggling with the fact that every week at church, we had been told that we weren’t worthy to come to communion if we didn’t believe X, Y, and Z. I’ve been a catholic all my life but it didn’t seem to me like Jesus really would want anyone to be turned away from his table just because they weren’t Catholic. We keep coming to Charis because as our kids grow and figure out who they are, the last thing they should be worried about is if they are truly loved by God and the community they worship with.
I was drawn to Charis during the pandemic when all masses were online. In contrast to Roman Catholic masses that were simply viewing experiencing with at best spiritual communion, Charis offered full and active participation through bringing our own bread and wine and shared homilies and prayers of the faithful. Their commitment to the radical inclusion of the Gospel was also a breath of fresh air.
Their continued commitment to and living out of this radical inclusion and full and active participation keeps me coming back. I see Charis as an example and vanguard of the church of the future and I want to be part of that.
I was initially attracted to Charis because it is built on the idea of emulating Christ and the Apostles and their commitment to loving people without judgement.
The Mass has positive messaging, includes ALL people, and distributes Communion to anyone wanting the healing bread of life. The homilies bring the readings to life for today’s world, encouraging us to draw on life experiences, share lessons learned, and become part of a supportive community that journeys together.
Charis is a celebration of living in Christ that fills my soul with joy and strengthens my connection to God.
What keeps me coming? Learning about the independent nature of the church, and the friendly manner of the small group, in that I am so warmly greeted each time I am there., and it really doesn’t matter if all of my beliefs don’t line up with everyone else’s, I still feel welcome!
We were tired of waiting for the RCC to change their positions on LGBTQ, women clergy and married priests. We were also very disturbed by their handling of sexual abuse amongst clergy.
Our first Sunday was so in line with our core beliefs that we decided to continue. Trish has made herself extremely accessible via emails and Zoom chats. The sermons are applicable to daily living. Then Sunday Mass comes, and we participate in the Liturgy and the message we hear during the Sermon is EXACTLY the message we needed to hear. We keep coming back because we feel we are called to the Charis Community for right now.
In the Charis Ecumenical Catholic Community (Charis ECC), I found a catholic community that is not under the auspices of the Roman Catholic Church (a church whose behavior and governance I had grown increasingly uncomfortable with over the years). Charis is a church that welcomes women to be leaders, LGQBT and divorced Catholics to feel welcomed and accepted, condemns the sexual abuse scandal and its mishandling, and allows priests (men or women) to marry whom they chose to marry. The religious traditions remain nearly the same including sacramental life and the celebrations of the liturgy and the eucharist. I can attend mass whether I am at home or away because it streams the mass online. I feel energized and at home in a community of like-minded people who are devoted to the gospel and its values.
We were not comfortable with the direction the Catholic Church was going. We were looking into other denominations in our area. Our daughter, Mandy, told us about Charis. We watched several Zoom masses and were hooked!
What keeps me coming back is like-minded people who love the Catholic tradition but desire a more inclusive approach. Trish and Pete come to Alexandria once a month to do intergenerational faith formation and mass with us, our children and 7 grandchildren (ages 10- 14)…Priceless. We couldn’t be happier.
A chance meeting after 20 years and … Fate? I attended a small faith-sharing meeting one evening that filled me with a strong desire for more, more, more…
Due to my recent retirement, I was hungry for being a part of a community. I got involved on Council, met new people who shared my values, and got reacquainted with previous friends.
The hook was set. I got in the boat —
What keeps me coming back? The people. The shared values. The spiritual journey.
I was initially drawn to Charis by my dear friend Mary Jo Jeppesen. She spoke very highly of Trish and the community. I attend as I am able, mostly by Zoom, but I feel welcomed and embraced by everyone.